Lawmakers concerned with drone technology

BOSTON (WWLP) – Civil rights advocates seek to protect folks from the prying eyes of drones.

State lawmakers are trying to catch up with drone technology, which they fear if left unregulated, could compromise many of our rights to privacy.

As drone technology advances, state lawmakers and civil rights advocates want Massachusetts laws to keep up.

Legislation that restricts the use of drones has been filed to regulate how police use drone technology to monitor the public.

“We know that in the near future, drones are coming to Massachusetts and when we think about having eyes in the skies, we need to have really good control over what’s happening, what are they looking at and under what circumstances,” Gavi Wolfe, Mass. ACLU spokeperson said.

The U.S. Dept of Homeland Security is already loaning drones to local law enforcement agencies.

A North Dakota man was sentenced to three years in prison last month after a drone helped police locate him on his cattle ranch.

The Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council has recently asked the FAA permission to test fly drones in Massachusetts.

Senator Robert Hedlund said, “There has been a heightened concern and awareness of how our civil liberties are being eroded and domestic spying issues, so I think it has put kind of a heightened interest in this bill.”

The bill would give city councils the power to approve a drone purchase.

A search warrant would be required to monitor a suspect; and any data not related to the intended subject would have to be deleted.

The State House is closed today due to snow, which means a hearing for the drone privacy bill has been rescheduled to March 5.

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